MODEL FOR THE DAY - by Harriet Baldwin
Earlier in the year, I was given the exciting opportunity to visit the prestigious Iver Academy to be a model for an open day event at their studios. Iver Academy is the UK's industry leading makeup school providing professional courses in makeup, hair and prosthetics for film, TV, fashion and theatre. It’s also located in the iconic Pinewood studios; a home to some of the most successful feature films and TV shows ever made.
Upon my arrival, I was quickly rushed into a chair while my hair was immediately rolled up in tight rubber heated rollers. This is when I realised this would not be a regular makeover. It was soon explained to me that the inspiration for my styling for the day, which would be watched by potential new students of the school, was the character of Vanessa Ives in the popular television show ‘Penny Dreadful’. Penny Dreadful is a British-American horror drama television series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan. Scientist Victor Frankenstein and medium Vanessa Ives unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London.
My makeup was applied in a unique way, which was entirely foreign and surprising to me, using the method of airbrushing in order to transport me back into the Victorian Era. My natural complexion is tanned due to my ethnicity, so I was initially sceptical that I could convincingly achieve the ghostly pale Victorian look that was required for the character. However, as airbrush makeup is sprayed on, it connects with millions of droplets of formula within the skin, creating an even and natural appearance. And from the use of different shades, I learned that airbrushing has endless possibilities including the application of eye shadow and eyebrows. My makeup artist explained throughout the demonstration how in the contemporary makeup scene, airbrush makeup has become the preferred option for bridal and events makeup due to its longwearing and flawless appearance. Airbrush makeup also wears longer than traditional powder or liquid foundation providing a realistic look that is maintained throughout the day.
The old Victorian clothing worn by the character in the show was also replicated using an interesting form of body art, where fantasy and special effects are stencilled or drawn freehand. Black ink was put into the compressor and applied, contrasting with my ghostly white powdered face, resembling the typical conspicuously dark, mysterious Gothic style.
The makeup artist also used a lace lattice stencil creating a printed pattern around my arms and my neck mimicking a choker. Further body make-up was applied of a scorpion design, printed across my back and chest to represent the intricate necklace designs character Vanessa wore in Penny Dreadful. To finish, a delicate bow was drawn down the top of my spine.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and have learned something new about airbrushing!
- By Harriet Baldwin